The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Giving them credit

Lutherans start saving clubs for women in Bangladesh

A goat changed Nurjahan Begum's life. And a loan from a microcredit scheme supported by the ELCA made it possible.

"I got a loan from our savings club to buy a mother goat," Nurjahan says. After much tugging and coaxing, she marches the goat, which nearly outweighs her, through Angaria in south Bangladesh, a country of 127 million that is roughly the size of Wisconsin.

Nurjahan beams, for the goat — her spotted pride and joy — marks her as an entrepreneur in a community where women have had few economic opportunities. "This goat has given me many of her children," she says. "With the money I earn from selling the goats and their milk, I'm able to give my children an education so they can build a life too."

Building lives — especially for women — is what their ministry is all about, says Karen Scott, who with her husband, Ed, and Bijoy Baroi, directs Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh, which runs the microcredit clubs.

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